I am going to make the assumption that if you’re reading this you have taken some of our mat classes and are reasonably familiar with how they work. If not, a mat class is a good place to start practicing Pilates. You’ll learn all the basics (and Pilates has a lot of basics) without having to worry about anything but your body.

Pilates is so versatile that you can continue with mat classes forever. There are always new exercises to learn and different versions of old exercises. Adding the ball can bring a fun new twist. Simply sitting on an exercise ball requires core muscles to engage automatically. They must in order to help you balance. So right there your muscles are challenged.

As with any prop the ball can make exercises harder or easier. It provides you with different options. Plus, if you haven’t worked with a ball before, you’ll be engaging your muscles in a new way. Some ball exercises simulate exercises on the Pilates machines. If you’ve ever seen the machines, they are fabulous tools that look like torture devices, but there is no need to fear them. The ball is a more affordable way to try and replicate some exercises done on the machines while saving money. Buying a ball (usually under $20 or $15) is much cheaper than buying a Reformer (that’s what the most well known machine is called) and because of machine maintenance, a machine class is usually more expensive than a mat or ball class.

As with a standard mat class, there are always variations with the ball exercises so you can work to your level. So, if you’re interested in a ball class, this fall we’ll be offering a beginner ball and intermediate ball class on Monday nights in Newington. Check out our website http://www.pilatesct.com/ and click on class schedule. You’ll need to bring your own exercise ball. They should come with a pump for easy inflation. Save your receipt and on the first class I’ll let you know if the ball is the right size for you. The standard rule is: when you sit on a fully inflated ball, your knees and hips should be at 90-degrees like you are sitting in a chair.